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Archive for the ‘Automobiles’ Category

Audi Goes Electric, Tackles Tesla With New e-tron Electric SUV

German automaker will initially target Tesla Model X.

by on Sep.18, 2018

Audi is ready to take on the industry leader, Tesla, with the all-new e-tron.

With the launch of the new e-tron SUV, Audi becomes the latest in a growing list of automakers to introduce a long-range battery-electric vehicle aimed directly at industry pioneer Tesla.

The luxury arm of Volkswagen AG traveled to San Francisco, Tesla’s backyard, to unveil the new model during a splashy ceremony that drew hundreds of journalists and dealers. Audi already offers a number of hybrid and plug-in models but it is planning to now introduce an array of all-electric offerings, joining such high-line competitors as Jaguar, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Electrifying!

The push into electrification could be particularly important for Audi in its bid to recover from the diesel emissions scandal that tarred several Volkswagen brands, resulting in penalties and settlements totaling around $30 billion. Though the company will continue to produce some diesel models, it now sees electric vehicles as key to its future. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Cadillac XT4

This "tweener" has a lot going for it.

by on Sep.17, 2018

The 2019 Cadillac XT4 gets is own platform as well as unique 2.0-liter turbo engine and 9-speed auto.

Its been more than a decade since Cadillac introduced its CTS sedan and Art & Science design language, setting into motion what was supposed to be the revival of a brand long known as “the standard of the world.” Things haven’t gone quite as expected, however.

On the plus side, Caddy is expecting to rack up record sales this year, largely the result of the booming Chinese market. But, back home, the turnaround has been dragging, in large part because the brand has been significantly out of sync with the market. Even as it rolled out a procession of new sedans and coupes, American buyers by the millions have migrated to SUVs and CUVs. That’s been all the more apparent in the luxury segment where BMW, for one, has filled in practically every gap with crossovers ranging from the X1 to X7, and even more to follow.

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Caddy has been struggling to shift directions. It’s largely gotten out of the coupe market and will soon drop the compact ATS, consolidating its sedan family. More importantly, it is finally beginning to flesh out its crossover line-up with the launch of the new 2019 Cadillac XT4. The compact CUV joins the bigger XT5 model introduced in 2016, as well as the Caddy’s utility vehicle flagship, the full-size Escalade. (more…)

Volkswagen Reveals $6B “Electric for All” Plans

German automaker will debut five-door hatchback in 2019.

by on Sep.17, 2018

Thomas Ulbrich, left, and Christian Senger outline Volkswagen's plans for its MEB-based electric vehicles.

Volkswagen AG is readying to kick off its long-expected onslaught of electric vehicles from its MEB platform, revealing an investment of more than $6 billion for plant upgrades to produce more than 10 million EVs by the end of 2025.

The moves are part of what VW dubs its “Electric for All” plan, based off the flexibility of its modular electric drive, or MEB, platform. It’s expected to the base for as many as 27 model between now and 2025.

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“We will make electric vehicles popular and get as many people as possible excited about electric cars,” said Brand Board Member for E-Mobility Thomas Ulbrich. “The MEB is one of the most important projects in the history of Volkswagen – a technological milestone, similar to the transition from the Beetle to the Golf.” (more…)

Lucid Secures $1 Billion Investment from Saudis

PIF looking for a hedge as it expands the value of the fund.

by on Sep.17, 2018

Lucid executives were on the hunt for additional investors, and struck a $1 billion with the Saudis.

After being seen as the key to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s now-dead plans to take the EV maker private, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is now investing $1 billion into EV start up Lucid Motors.

The new pact gives Lucid the cash it needs to kick off production of its first-ever model, the Air, in 2020, at its plant in Arizona. Lucid officials have said the new model will cost about $60,000.

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It’s widely believed the Saudis have been searching for ways to hedge against its oil exports for some time now, explaining the earlier dalliance with Tesla and Musk. The two sides had talks about the fund backing Musk’s plan, which could have required more than $40 billion from the Saudis. (more…)

New “Hell” for Tesla, as Model 3 Deliveries Run Into Serious Delays

“We’ve gone from production hell to delivery logistics hell.”

by on Sep.17, 2018

Dozens of Tesla Model 3 sedans are reportedly being held in this Union Pacific freight depot in Salt Lake City.

After more than a year of struggles, Tesla appears to finally be getting the production bugs worked out at its battery and assembly plants, but that may not mean much to frustrated buyers waiting to take delivery of a new Model 3.

In recent days, new issues have cropped up, in one case a small fleet of the battery-sedans have been held up at a Union Pacific freight depot leaving Tesla and its customers unsure when they will be released for delivery.

Beyond the Headlines!

Responding to a customer who complained by tweet that she now faces an “indefinite” delay in getting her Model 3, Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded, “Sorry, we’ve gone from production hell to delivery logistics hell, but this problem is far more tractable. We’re making rapid progress. Should be solved shortly.”

(more…)

Cadillac Going Small With New XT4 Crossover

New model looks to make impact in U.S, China

by on Sep.17, 2018

Cadillac is counting on its new compact crossover, the XT4, to revitalize and expand its buyer base.

Sitting at the very top of the famous pyramid that Alfred P. Sloan used to define the automotive market and values, Cadillac has always been General Motors’ flagship, offering style, luxury and innovation in a series of celebrated big vehicles that in the decades after World War II defined American affluence and influence.

But as the Post-War era gave way to a more complicated and contentious time, Cadillac has often seemed lost in the ongoing competition from Europe and Asia. But the brand’s masters at GM are eager to correct the course with a fleet of new vehicles they believe will redefine the brand’s image among luxury buyers particularly younger buyers.

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Now it’s trying to build on its rich heritage at the same time it reaches into new segments where it never has been much of a factor in the past. (more…)

BMW’s iNext Offers a Glimpse at Automaker’s Autonomous, Electrified Future

Show car offers broad hints about BMW's next all-electric model.

by on Sep.15, 2018

BMW offered a handful of journalists a sneak peek at the iNext concept during an around-the-world tour.

BMW was one of the first of the traditional automakers to enter the plug-in vehicle market, well ahead of luxury rivals like Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus. But it has been slow to follow up on its original i3 and i8 models, especially when it comes to all-electric offerings, even as those competitors have laid out aggressive plans to launch literally dozens of their own new products in the coming years.

BMW has been dropping hints about where it might go next for several years. And the Bavarian automaker is looking to get back in the game with the appropriately named iNext, an all-electric and autonomous crossover set to make its debut in 2021.

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A handful of select media outlets, including TheDetroitBureau.com, got a chance to check out a prototype version of the iNext during an otherwise top-secret, around-the-world series that took the concept vehicles from Germany to New York, then Los Angeles and, finally, Beijing.

(more…)

Infotainment Technology Getting Better, JD Power study says

Systems improve for third consecutive year.

by on Sep.14, 2018

The Ford Mustang earned the highest score in J.D. Power's 2018 Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study.

If you own a car built in the last decade, you’ve been there. You attempt to make a call using the hands-free system – regardless of the manufacturer – and you get a list of people the nice lady in the dashboard would like you to choose from and none of the options are the one you want.

It’s this kind of technology that is both enticing and enraging all at the same time and is most often the target of complaints by new vehicle owners. However, the folks at J.D. Power claim the user experience is getting better.

The Last Word!

According to the J.D. Power 2018 Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study, the number of reported problems with in-car audio, communication, entertainment and navigation technologies has decreased for a third consecutive year, with several technology standouts emerging among manufacturers. (more…)

Fade of Zero-Percent Financing Makes Leasing More Appealing

Rising interest rates pushing buyers toward leases.

by on Sep.14, 2018

Zero-percent financing deals are increasingly difficult to find these days, pushing some into leasing.

Car shoppers are always looking for a deal, and often they’re excited by the prospect of zero percent financing; however, those deals are getting tougher and tougher to find.

The percentage of sales with zero percent finance deals has been cut in half in the last two years — dropping from 14.6% of transactions in August of 2016, to 10.4% last August to just 7.4% this August, according to Edmunds.

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This drop during the last three Augusts sparks interest because zero percent financing deals usually abound in August and September.

“August truly represents the month that we would have expected to see a turnaround in this trend if one was imminent,” said Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds’ manager of industry analysis. “Moving forward, shoppers will likely need to do a bit more digging to find other ways to save on a new vehicle because it looks like zero percent finance deals are going the way of the dodo.”

(more…)

California Pushes Ahead with Promotion of Zero-Emission Vehicles

Major changes expected by 2025 and new tech by 2040.

by on Sep.14, 2018

California Gov. Jerry Brown continues to forge ahead on the state's zero-emissions goal.

Despite the efforts by the Trump administration to roll back clean air regulations, California continues pressing forward with efforts to foster zero-emission vehicles.

“By working across national and state boundaries, through this new focused effort, we can accelerate progress and help bring these important clean technologies to market years earlier. We are very supportive of this program and look forward to collaborating with our partners to achieve our clean air and climate goals,” said Richard W. Corey, executive officer of the influential California Air Resources Board.

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California Governor Jerry Brown also announced this week that the State of California intended to get all of its electricity from clean sources such as solar and wind energy by the middle of the century. (more…)